Morning walkers turn Tripunithura Hill Palace into their favourite haunt

Morning walkers are making a beeline to the Hill Palace grounds in Tripunithura. With no other park or even a walkway available along the roads, the sprawling grounds of the Hill Palace is now the most favourite haunt of the residents.

The 52 acres of ground is covered with heavy foliage, with some old trees with thick trunks that give a woody feel to the place. And early morning walkers find it heavenly.

“It is as if we’re in some forest,” said Awathy, a regular walker at the palace and a resident of Thiruvamkulam. “We come here mainly to get fresh air and soak in the ambience.” Outside, the roads are chaotic. With no pedestrian walkway on the roads, it is difficult for a morning walker to feel safe from the traffic, said M. I. Andrews, a nearby resident and businessman staying at Irimpanam.

Mr. Andrews had been utilising this facility at the Hill Palace for the last three years since the palace grounds were opened for morning walkers. The nearby Seaport-Airport Road and the KRL Roads are full of heavy vehicles and this drives many walkers into the safety of Hill Palace Ground.

The walkers are allowed on the Hill Palace grounds between 5.30 a.m and 8 a.m. The pristine garden around the palace building is a beautiful sight too. However, the restriction around the palace denies entry near the main building. There is a path to be followed by the morning walkers and after the recent incident when the morning walkers found one of the museum doors open, the security around the palace has been tightened.

The Hill Palace staff believes the police are not comfortable with people visiting the palace before or after the museum working hours as the number of security personnel guarding the museum is less. There is also a demand for opening the grounds in the evening for walkers.

Police have become strict about morning walkers bringing their pass issued by the palace office. While over 400 applications for passes were processed over the last three years, there were around 50 regular morning walkers, said one of the Hill Palace staff.

But not everything is rosy for the walkers. “All these issues of security are fine, but the tarred road around the museum ground is in disrepair,” said S. P. Thantry, a former employee of the Kochi Refineries Ltd. The lighting is also poor, though it is better than what it was earlier, he said.